Thursday, November 20, 2008

rest in peace, cozy kitty

Cozy the kitty fell off the roof last night, and broke his back. It was only a brief time until he passed away. He was three years old. He is missed by all in this house, especially by Kaleigh, because he was, above all, her kitty. He will forever be remembered as the softest cat ever, especially with his thick winter fur. We remember his penchant for curling up in box-like structures and for tuna fish, his amazing mouse-catching abilities, his love of catnip, his desire for fresh food pellets every day, how he loved to snuggle with Kaleigh in the mornings and when she was ill, and how extremely cozy and cuddly he was at all times really. We will plant some catnip in his memory.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Today we were recognized by the Lt. Governor of Illinois as a Sustainable School. If you'd like to see our Funschool at Home in an official list, it's here. We are funschool at home. It is nice to be recognized, and also nice to be called by the staff of a public official with some integrity and interest in issues that I think really matter, and have said staffer say, "We're excited about what you're doing!"

A lot has been going on. We've been incredibly busy. It's never a regret, since being busy usually means we are getting a lot done or having a lot of fun, and the last couple of weeks have been full of both. But it's also nice to take a break from busyness, to spend the day in our jammers, lounging around (still waiting for that, maybe tomorrow?). Here's what we've been up to.

Community gardens have been on our minds. Food not lawns Springfield is pursuing several different ideas regarding community gardens. I attended a meeting today at the Dept. of Agriculture on behalf of fnl. They are planning on turning part of the infield of the racetrack at the grandstand into community gardens (at the State Fairgrounds, north end of Springfield). They will have roughly 500-600 roughly 10' by 12' plots available. Wow! That is an incredible opportunity for the citizens of Springfield. I am hopeful with not only this option, but the other options food not lawns is pursuing. Next week's fnl meeting features our friends Mike and Abby, and will be about their adventures forest gardening.

Next weekend, we are going to do a food not lawns table at the local Meet Your Producers event on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Last year they had about 400 people. I think I will need to print out a few more brochures...

Knitting has also been on my mind and hands. Kaleigh has learned to knit and started on a scarf. Somehow knitting socks has clicked in my brain. I knitted a pair for Kaleigh in about ten days' time. She's been wearing them nonstop since (got to wash them sometime!). I started knitting some for my step-dad for Christmas now. I love knitting socks!

I finally got the last of the garden squared away. The tomato tally is 32 quarts of red tomatoes canned, and 24 quarts of green tomato pickles. We have a crock of fermenting green tomato dill pickles. The last drying herbs and seeds are packed away for the winter. Whew. I am glad to be done for a while.

Kaleigh has been to play dates galore in the last couple of weeks, including her organized classes which provide social time. We've also started playing racquetball in our downtime between art class and open swim at the Y. Yesterday we went to the children's museum with four other kids & had a screaming time, literally. It was all good, just all good and loud! The pictures at left are Kaleigh next to the Children's museum's tarantula (she got to pet it), and Kaleigh, Payton, & Kallie playing in the post office.

This Saturday, Don is taking Kaleigh to the circus. We scored some free tickets. Also, they will be attending Collector's Day at the Illinois State Museum. It will hopefully not be too blustery!

I think that's all the news that fits.


Monday, November 3, 2008

voting with consciousness

Well, here we are, on the eve of another presidential election. I'm so happy, mostly because the spectacle noise will die down appreciatively after tomorrow, provided that each sides' dirty tricks don't mar the appearance of a "true winner".

Whether you vote or not, no matter who you vote for, I implore anyone who reads this blog to not give away your personal power to make change. Change within, talk with others. Memes spread, lives change. If we can envision what we would like our world to be, we can make it so. It takes each of us, voting every day for things that matter. Yes, it's good to think about the polar ice caps melting & know that our continued outlandish patterns of consumption are making the difference. If we keep on down the same path, we know where we will end up. It ain't pretty, especially for those who come after us, born into toxicity, and dying in it, living lives in steel and concrete cages, never knowing they were alive in the first place.

It's good to take the red pill and be aware of the bad shit, but also good not to dwell in it. Sometimes it seems like a bad dream, but people are waking up. We've got big brains, and we can think. We use our imaginations. We learn and adapt. We're humans. It's our specialty. And now it's time to switch off the part of our brain that occupies itself with flashing screens and imaginary rituals that promote death. If we kill our habitat, surely that means we are killing ourselves. And that's pretty dumb if you stop and think about it.

It's time to switch on the part our brain that lives in another paradigm. We can do better than this win/lose world, can't we, way way better than empire? Win/win sounds much better. In the economy of money, the have nots suffer while the haves kill themselves with indulgence. In the economy of community, we give time and help to each other. The more we spend, the more we receive. Community is an unlimited growth economy. Ask yourself, what matters? Think about this constantly until you find an answer. I have thought of a few things: food and shelter, human relationships, contentment.

We live in a world that is totally constructed by our minds. Is Wal-Mart real? If we didn't believe it was real, would it go away (Phillip K. Dick's reality test)? Yes! Money, government, social class--all these things disappear when we stop believing in them. They are constructs, consensus reality. They do not exist outside of us believing in them. Think of your paper money. Is it real? It's paper, which is not backed by hard currency like gold or silver. It's backed by the economy of the United States. If the economy tanks, the dollar tanks. It's only worth what worth we give it, which isn't much here recently.

If we live in an imaginary world, it's fairly easy to dismiss the importance of the death-wish culture in my life when it no longer felt relevant. I get the feeling this is how paradigms change. It's been 200 plus years since a bunch of rich guys signed a piece of paper declaring that we were all free and equal. We're still dealing with institutionalized racism and classism. If government were going to make a positive change, don't you think we'd be seeing it by now? It's been 50 years since the civil rights era. Sure, on paper, we're equal. But we can look around at our segregated town and prison cells and see with our own eyes it's not.

I don't have much, well, any faith left that my government will do something meaningful. I mean, hell, faceless men are still being tortured in Cuba on my behalf. I think I can make more and positive change in my community by being active every day, by fomenting change, growing and eating the food on my doorstep, talking with people, acknowledging the marginalized (minorities, homeless, soil, trees) as equals in a world of community, being open and honest about what I do. I vote for that, and I vote for it every day.

I hear all about what I'm supposed to do tomorrow, but quite honestly, I think it's what I do the other 1,460 days that make a difference.